Arm Lift Introduction
As we grow older, it is typical for our skin to start losing the elasticity and tight contour it had in the past. This laxity commonly occurs between the shoulder and the elbow. Whether your arm skin is loose and flabby due to gravity or it is stretched out due to weight loss, an arm lift may be just what you need to tighten your skin and create a firmer, younger contour. An arm lift, also known as “brachioplasty”, surgically thins and reshapes the area of your arm between the shoulder and elbow. By removing excess fat deposits and skin in this area to reshape and improve the contour, plastic surgery specialist Dr. Kim can give you a more toned upper arm appearance.
Choosing Arm Lift
Choosing to undergo an arm lift procedure is a highly personal decision, and you should only elect to have this surgery if it is right for you and not because you want to meet anyone else’s expectations. If you want a firmer, more youthful appearance and fitness and weight loss efforts have not allowed you to reach your goal, then this type of surgical intervention may be right for you.
A variety of people elect to undergo arm lifts. Patients at normal weights who want tighter, firmer contours may elect to undergo this procedure. Massive weight loss patients with significant excess skin in the arms are good candidates as well. It is important to note that patients who want an arm lift should not smoke, should be in good physical health, at a stable weight, and have realistic goals and desires for surgery.
During your individualized consultation with Dr. John Kim in his offices in Streeterville in downtown Chicago, he will take a close look at your problematic body areas, so he can customize a treatment plan specifically for you. He will ensure you fully understand the risks of the procedure so you are able to make an informed decision.
The Arm Lift Procedure
Dr. John Kim adjusts the pattern and length of the incision for arm lift surgery based on the location and amount of excess skin and fat to be removed. The incision could be a very small one contained entirely within the armpit, if you are a patient with a small amount of excess skin in the upper arm. Or, the scar may be larger and run from the elbow, through the armpit, and onto the side of the back if you are someone with significant upper arm excess (as with massive weight loss patients). Your scar will remain visible over time; however, many of Dr. Kim’s patients are very pleased with their tighter, more contoured upper arms, making the scarring worth it. During your personalized consultation with Dr. Kim, he will discuss incision patterns with you and help you decide which option is best. Often, Dr. Kim is even able to place a large incision in a discrete location where it is not easily visible.
During your arm lift procedure, Dr. Kim may elect to do some liposuction in addition to the lift. This will help reduce the fat deposits present in your upper arm. Once he removes the excess skin with the lift and excess fat with liposuction, he will place support stitches in your arm to form and support the new contours. Your incision will then be closed with normal sutures.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arm Lift
How long is the arm lift recovery?
Every arm lift patient recovers differently from surgery. Dr. Kim usually advises patients to take one to two weeks off from work to recuperate. The majority of the bruising and swelling subsides during this time.
You may feel more fatigued than usual in the days initially following surgery. Plan to spend most of the time resting and avoiding anything strenuous that could elevate your heart rate or blood pressure while your body heals. You can resume walking as you see fit, but activities that require bending, heavy lifting or bouncing up and down are off-limits.
You will see Dr. Kim for several follow-up visits, during which he will check your arms’ healing progress and clear you to resume work, exercise and socializing.
Is there anything I can do to speed up my recovery?
Eating a healthy diet and limiting consumption of sodium-rich, processed foods can help expedite your body’s recovery. Hydrating properly is also recommended.
The more prepared you are for recovery, the smoother your experience will be. Prior to your surgery, prepare a space for recovery: it may be your bedroom or the living room couch. Stock the area with recovery essentials, including cozy linens, plenty of pillows, prescription medications, entertainment options, water and healthy snacks. Keep our office number readily available, in case you need to call us for any reason.
What is a compression garment?
A compression garment is a tight-fitting garment that supports the healing arm tissues and minimizes swelling. Wearing your compression garment as advised will help you achieve your final results faster, and make your recovery more comfortable. Most patients wear the garments for several weeks after surgery. Dr. Kim will give you an exact timeline during your consultation.
Does arm lift leave scarring?
Yes. The incisions from your arm lift will leave scarring. Dr. Kim will show you exactly where the scar will be located before surgery so you know what to expect.
At first the scar will look red and raised, but as long as you practice smart scar care habits, it should fade and flatten over time. Specifically, not smoking and protecting your scar from the sun will help it heal and fade.
Can arm lift be combined with other procedures?
Yes. Some patients opt to combine arm lift with other body contouring procedures, such as body lift, liposuction or breast lift, based on their ultimate aesthetic goals. These procedures may be performed during the same operation or staged out separately. Dr. Kim can advise you of your best treatment options during your consultation.
When can I see the results of my arm lift?
Normally results can be seen about six weeks after surgery. By this point, the swelling has mostly subsided, revealing your new arm contours.
If you want to enjoy your results as long as possible, Dr. Kim encourages you to maintain your weight and muscle tone through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Many patients discover renewed motivation to make smart lifestyle choices after seeing their arm lift results.